The enteric pathogen Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium induces apoptosis in infected macrophages. This process is rapid, specific, and depends on the type III protein secretion system encoded within Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI1). Here, we demonstrate that serotype Typhimurium can activate programmed macrophage cell death independently of SPI1. SPI1 independent induction of apoptosis in infected macrophages is observed as early as 12 to 13 h postinfection, even in the absence of intracellular bacterial replication. Delayed activation of programmed macrophage cell death is not observed with serotype Typhimurium strains mutated in ompR or SPI2. Even though SPI2 mutants have a defect in intracellular proliferation, our results indicate that long-term intracellular survival and growth are not required for delayed macrophage killing per se, since Salmonella mutants that are severely defective in intracellular growth still induce delayed apoptosis. Inactivation of genes required for either rapid or delayed induction of apoptosis results in a conditional noncytotoxic phenotype, whereas simultaneous inactivation of genes required for both rapid and delayed induction of apoptosis renders serotype Typhimurium noncytotoxic under all conditions tested. Our hypothesis is that differential activation of programmed macrophage cell death by serotype Typhimurium occurs under discrete physiological conditions at distinct locations within an infected host.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases